Closet Memoirs #5: I Left My (H)e(A)r(T) in Hollywood

img_0765

Once upon a time in Hollywood… my favorite hat went missing. The hat that was a destined Closet Memoirs star whose life was cut too short. (Adding the drama because, well… HOLLYWOOD.)

I’d like to think of myself as a responsible person. I usually keep a pretty close eye on my belongings seeing I have this ridiculous, storytelling-based emotional attachment to them. However, in the case of this very special hat… all responsibility has been thrown out the window. It’s no wonder it decided to part ways with me after a handful of wild adventures together.

A couple of springs ago I got to spend a few days in Texas working on a very special photoshoot for one of our big work campaigns. It was 3 days, 5 photoshoots and a whole lot of responsibility. It was beautiful chaos. The trip began a little stress-ridden seeing my co-worker and I were in charge of making this shoot run smoothly and also the fact that we flew out in the middle (and trust me, I mean MIDDLE) of an uncontrollable March snowstorm. I still can’t believe they let us on the plane. After an anxiety-ridden flight, we finally landed safely in sunny Houston and felt a sigh of relief. And to our surprise… everything went rather smooth after that! After a day and a half in Houston, we headed 5 hours north to Dallas where we finally had a blip of downtime.

While wandering downtown I did a double-take as we passed a Buffalo Exchange aka my favorite thrift store in New York. I thought we only had them here! I went in just to “browse” (which is never the case) and left with a handful of new belongings. One of which, was my magical hat. It was a little funky, a little retro, and made my ears poke out a bit, but I LOVED it. I had been on the hunt for one like it for months. This became a part of my everyday wardrobe through the following fall and winter. Wearing it back in New York made me feel a little Devil Wears Prada-ish, and on the bad days… made me look kind of like a chimney sweep straight out of Mary Poppins, but we’ll skip over that part. Trip #1 for the hat was complete. From Dallas to NYC, we made it back in one piece, sans snowstorm.

Fast forward about 6 months for hat trip #2. My best friend, Will came to visit from Colorado. After a long weekend adventuring around New England (with my hat ON), it somehow slipped through the cracks of his car where he found it before boarding his flight back to Vail, CO. So, there the hat went. Off to the mile high state and soon shipped back to NYC in a comfy little box. The hat was safe once again.

Fast forward again to another work trip 6 months later. This was my hat’s 3rd and final adventure. This time? Los Angeles. In my mind, this hat was an essential part of the L.A. wardrobe I had put together. I was going for a mature Mary-Kate and Ashley/early 2000’s J-Lo vibe; lip gloss, hoops and all. “Very L.A.” I thought. Well… L.A. didn’t think so.

On the 2nd night of our stay in L.A., my coworker, and dear friend, Shannon treated me to one of those touristy Hollywood bus excursions. It was amazing! I saw all of the corny things I wanted. Leonardo DiCaprio’s mansion, Beverly Hills, Pulp Fiction film locations, Sunset Boulevard, you name it! I was in a daze. As we exited the bus after the tour we decided to use a hotel bathroom across the street. The hotel was interesting. I didn’t know anything about it but it felt very… “creepy Hollywood”. Don’t get me wrong it was a gorgeous hotel but I just got a weird feeling. Shannon and I both agreed and looked at each other with a funny chill. We felt some sort of dark vibe in there. Maybe I was just all riled up on tour stories of Hollywood murders and ghosts but we agreed that in some parallel universe we could see rockstars causing trouble here. (The 1970s, Rolling Stones sort of trouble, of course.) Though we are a dramatic pair and love to dream and wonder, it felt historic. Needless to say, we got the HECK out of there and made our way to dinner.

Midway through our meal, I went to go readjust my hat only to feel that it wasn’t there. Now, we both could have sworn it was on as we walked to the restaurant. Maybe we were wrong? Either way… there are a few theories here.

Theory 1) I left it on the tour bus and my hat is now touring the Hollywood Hills for the rest of its life. (simple)

Theory 2) I left it in the bathroom of the hotel. (probable)

Theory 3) It was snatched off my head by the ghost of an old rockstar who haunted the hotel, of course. (favorite scenario)

Why theory number 3? After retracing our steps and researching the area to find the name of the hotel, I gave them a call to see if there was any trace of my hat. After they seemed to have no clue what I was talking about I continued down the internet rabbit hole… and, sure enough, the hotel was in fact, a rock and roll hotspot back in the day. Mick Jagger himself used to ride his motorcycle through the hallways, it was also the location of several Hollywood tragedies and suicides. Even part of Almost Famous was filmed there! Wild right? Of course, I like to pretend it was linked to the loss of my hat as it makes for a better story. *wink*

So, hat… wherever you may be. I hope you’re happy! You finally escaped me. And to whoever found you, enjoy!

P.S. For your enjoyment: here is the last known photo of my sweet, sweet hat

img_0764

Standard

Closet Memoirs #4: Uptown (Cow)girl

IMG-8118

Washington Heights is a small neighborhood located just above Harlem in the upper region of Manhattan. It was my neighborhood for 2 years until only a few weeks ago. My first NYC home.

The streets were continuously booming with salsa music and lined with characters. But then again, that’s just New York. Though I lived across the street from a funeral home, above a bar and under what sounded like professional bowlers; I found some sort of twisted comfort in the live mariachi bands and drunken behavior outside my window. As funny as it sounds, It was the soundtrack to my neighborhood. Aside from that, we had several hidden gems: some of the most delicious tapas food you could ever imagine, the friendliest local bar that was days away from closing when local, Lin Manuel Miranda generously funded and saved it himself. It was the home to the most delicious guava pastries, the STRONGEST coffee, and the liveliest families who were constantly celebrating, barbecuing and playing checkers on the street. People were always selling flowers, food, trinkets, and clothing lined every block. I always kept an eye out for something special. Much like discovery of my leopard coat, this street find was too good to pass up.

I was trudging home from the subway in a pair of shoes that were neither practical or comfortable when I walked by a hoard of freshly unloaded boxes on the street in front of a small 99 cent store. To my surprise, I looked over and saw a cardboard box full of cow-print jeans. I was instantly blasted back to this outfit I had as a kid. I stopped dead in my tracks and thought of a specific day. Triggered (in a good way) to say the least. Seconds later, you better believe I was rummaging through that box.

The jeans reminded me of this dress I once had.  I was a 4-year-old kindergartner who thought she was 14. Being the youngest kid in my grade growing up didn’t mean a thing to me. I still felt 10 years older in my over sized head. I still remember that time so vividly though it was so many years ago. We had just moved to my little town from the one next door and I was starting at a new school. I missed the birthday cutoff and had to hop into another year of preschool. After being in there for a few weeks, I was bored to tears. I loved school back then. I wanted to do more. I liked math, could read at an early age and wanted to be with the “big kids”. (Not sure what happened there as only a few years later I became a solid B/C student for the rest of my school years.)

Long story short, I was lucky enough to be bumped up to kindergarten at age 4. I was in the afternoon group which meant the whole morning was free for shenanigans. Extra time picking outfits, playing, getting into trouble at home… usual 4-year-old things. (I wish life still abided by this luxurious schedule.) It was around the end of September when I officially began at my new school which meant I entered in just in time for picture day. *Yay!*

I began that morning at a doctors appointment (which every kid hates) and was whisked away to picture day. (I remember this so well because I did not want to change out of my new favorite outfit.) I was not ok with the finger prick, or the temporary outfit change, but was definitely ok with my flashy new band aid. Freshly poked and pawed at I pulled it together and was off to school in an outfit that made me forget about the previous hour. It was a denim dress with a cow-print collar, paired with two (very) high pigtails tied up with some matching blue scrunchies.

The best part about this outfit had to be the matching purse that came with it. I wish I had a picture! (But you can see that it is strapped across me in the photo above because God forbid I took it off!) From the smirk in this picture… I think you can tell I felt like a million bucks. Needless to say, I was pretty proud of this outfit and the fact that I was in with the big kids.

I think I can speak for my parents in saying I was not the easiest child to get dressed in the morning not only because of my over sized head not fitting through most of my shirts, but I was incredibly choosy and HAD to pick my own outfits (shocker).

So… when I saw those jeans on the street. I couldn’t help but think about the only other cow-print item I had ever owned. The jeans were a more sophisticated spin on it! (Or so I thought.) After rummaging through the box I noticed every pair had a tag that read “10/12”.

“10/12”???” I thought.

“Like a kids 10/12?”

I didn’t have a clue… but for some reason I felt like they looked about my size. Plus, I forgot to mention… they only cost me a whopping $2.99! I took them home and (somehow) they fit like a glove.

Every time I wear them, they become a conversational piece.

When I get the:  “Oh I love those! Where did you get them?”

I surprise them by saying they were actually $3 jeans made for little boys that fell off the back of a truck somewhere and somehow made it to my neighborhood where I scooped them out of a cardboard box… *wink*

 

IMG-7645IMG-9471

Standard

A Love Letter to New York

img-8974.jpg

To the place that has kicked my ass for two years straight,

I love you and the person you have helped me become. Two years ago, the world as I knew it definitely changed. Life got a little harder but also became a lot more interesting.

To the place that continuously knocks you down and forces you to stand back up, thank you for teaching me that sometimes tough love is the best thing.

To the city that has taken every penny, ounce of energy, damaged far too many pairs of shoes and given me laundry lists of anxieties… thank you. You have given me far more than you have taken away and quite frankly I’d rather be stressed in New York than anywhere else.

Yes, some days I dread going out into the world because I am tired, exhausted even. Sometimes I don’t want to leave my apartment. Sometimes I don’t want to walk, take the subway or exert any extra energy because both my mind and body are far past their limits.

Some days I want to escape and take a break. Some days I wish I had an “unsee” button. Some days my heart breaks for those around me who have lost and to see those who are struggling. Every face has a different story. Sometimes I stress about rent, subway delays and expenses. Some days work wears on you. Sometimes life gets in the way and you just need a moment but the city around you refuses to pause. Some days, I have my moments and dream of suburban life for a second. (Cars, houses, clean air, peace and quiet… tempting, I know.)

Sometimes when I leave, I take a deep breath upon my return, knowing the chaos is about to resurface in just a few short hours. But without fail… every time I see the sparkly skyline pop back up onto the horizon, I forget about the noise, the rats, the roaches, the crowds and I am almost relieved to see this place that was once only imaginary to me. The place that was once deemed “impossible” to live in is now my home. (For two whole years!) New York, I am both glad and surprised we have made it this far.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that this little island is only 13.4 miles long. Its the kind of place that makes you realize how big and small the world is all at the same time, which gives you a whole new outlook on life.

If the characters I met here have taught me one thing it is: “Those who stay here work for it.” Those who dreamed about living here took a leap of faith to create the life they desired. Those who have made this place their home have come from all walks of life in order to pursue something bigger than themselves. We are a proud melting pot.

All frustrations and complaints aside, I can’t say I’d choose to live anywhere else. This teeny tiny glowing dot on the map has housed some of the most iconic moments in history. We are lucky to live in the city that makes dreams come true and is fueled by people who never stop moving forward.

Through the good times and the bad… New York, you have rewarded me more than I can say. (My favorite love-hate relationship of all time!)

Happy Anniversary, New York. 

(My 7-year-old self is very happy about writing this right now.)

Standard

Closet Memoirs #3: Public Speaking and Plastic Purses

fullsizerender-1.jpg

I left my comfy theatre-kid high school feeling a little lost as my (very young), freshly dumped, 17-year-old-self headed off to my 2nd choice school with my 2nd choice major after a long, dramatic debate of Musical Theatre not being a “practical one”. It was time to begin a new chapter in my life. 

*Enter Fashion Major me*

Since I failed my AP English test my senior year of high school (I really should have read those books), I found myself right back on the same track with the rest of the freshman going through the standard English courses. Jumping right into my first trimester of school, I was slotted to take the class that was everyone’s biggest fear: Public Speaking. Not only was this the most feared class of most college students but a big fear for most people. I learned that at the time Public Speaking was the number one fear of most Americans, following was spiders and death; and coming from a girl who is definitely not a fan of spiders (or death) this whole requirement didn’t seem so bad after all.

“Number one fear?!” I thought. Maybe those theatre kid days would pay off. Talking in front of a bunch people with no director to yell at you and no smeared lines written on your hands? That didn’t seem so bad.

From afar, Public Speaking seemed like acting to me. You essentially are putting on a show for your audience to convey a story, topic, or to convince someone of something- just like acting. I soon realized Public Speaking was no different than memorizing lines or a monologue. In fact, I thought it was easier! You had way more freedom to improvise. It was way more authentic. You were acting… as yourself! Plus, as the girl who never stops chatting, this was a great discovery. Those “Talkative in class” comments on my middle school report cards were finally being put to good use.

Since most of us angsty freshman dragged our feet, skipped class and flaked out on presentations- I accidentally came to be a pretty good student in the class. Giving a presentation was WAY easier to me than taking a test or sitting and taking notes for hours on end with drooling students nodding off during a lecture. It is way more powerful and engaging to actually get up and do something. Plus you learned a great deal about your classmates. I am still in touch with some of those people to this day!

This course soon came to be my favorite part of the week (and of college in general). My professor took notice too which made us get along quite well. I cared about her class and in turn, she gave me great respect and freedom.

I was truly a bit sad when it came to a close but took full advantage of taking as many courses as I could with my new favorite teacher; both requirements and electives included. I learned a lot and felt the most inspired in that classroom. From News Writing to Film; I got to compose articles, interview, present, watch, review and dissect movies. I was loving it.

Another thing we had in common besides a love for film, writing, and Audrey Hepburn was fashion, particularly vintage things! My professor was always impeccably dressed and fabulously accessorized and I didn’t exactly show up to class in sweatpants either. We had the same appreciation for several different things. I admired it a great deal! I even featured her in a campus fashion article. It’s safe to say after 3 years of knowing each other and countless classes together, we were going to stay in touch! Thank God for Facebook right?

A couple weeks ago while doing the ever-so-trendy, Marie Kondo cleaning cleanse, I received a message from her. During her cleaning purge she came across this vintage purse that had been sitting away for years. It turns out that decades ago she knew a Providence antique dealer who found the gem. She said it perfectly complemented a New Year’s Eve dress she was wearing that season. I can only imagine how fabulous she looked.

She wrote, “I held on to it for years, long after the relationship had ended, because I just couldn’t part with it… I resurrected it and immediately thought that you, Via, should have it. I too have always loved vintage clothes and wore a lot of it in my youth. I knew instinctively that you would not only treasure this purse, but you would wear it in style.”

*Cue heart melting*  I was too excited!

Before I knew it, the little purse was on its way to me from Rhode Island to New York. I could not wait to have it! After returning from a work trip last week, the golden purse was waiting for me all packaged up with the perfect card to match. I have never seen anything quite like it. The uniquely structured, barrel-shaped Lucite bag was really something special. It had gold flecks melded into it and these stunning shiny gold plates at the end that looked like very fashionable versions of fancy Italian cookies. It is the perfect “carry on” for a night out on the town. This has to be one of my favorite hand-me-downs I have ever received.

Welcome to the wardrobe! Thank you, Professor!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Standard

Closet Memoirs #2: The Kimono Older Than All of Us

FullSizeRender

During my pre-New Yorker days as a Starbucks barista, I was latte-ing away when a simple coffee order turned into a side conversation about the lipstick I was wearing. As you could imagine, the idea of anyone TELLING me what to wear (aka abiding by a uniform, following corporate standards, whatever) never settled too well with me; mostly because I was seeing everyone on campus while wearing a pair of KHAKIS and sneakers. It was a big no from me. But, of course… I did it. Non-slip shoes and all. Anyway…! With no jewelry, nail polish, or accessories of any kind allowed to spruce up these barista “outfits”, lipstick was my only weapon.

The eccentric woman who complimented my lipstick was still chatting away with me as I pretended to wipe tables around her while my friend covered for me on bar. I was drawn to her as she was to me. We couldn’t stop talking. After a bit of chit-chat, we got into the career conversation. I told her my major and she replied with a rather unexpected answer. She was a fashion designer! As a 19yearold sophomore looking for an internship, this was music to my ears. I wanted to do something fun. Something different. Something that wasn’t just handed to me by an advisor or planned out through a pre-set program because of where I went to school. I wanted the connections and the unique experience. I couldn’t even believe how perfect this seemed. This certainly spiced up my afternoon Starbucks shift.

That weekend, I skipped the usual Cinco de Mayo festivities to attend a more formal interview with her. We sat and sipped tea in the Starbucks (ironically) below the Providence Biltmore and I had never felt more fancy or excited. My mind was reeling as she gave me the position on the spot and we set our dates to begin working together.

“Easy!” I thought. She had a fashion show coming up in about a month that she needed some major help with. Things were all lined up and I was more excited than ever.

School ended. Summer began. And my little blue VW Bug and I were commuting to Providence a few days a week for this internship. I felt like quite the adult. Now normally, here’s where the dishing would begin. However, for the sake of karma, privacy and using the internet for good, not evil… we’re going to keep this one light. Lets just say that from day one of this internship, it was not a thing like I expected. I was a chauffeur, an errand runner, a “slave to fashion” as some would say. Except for the fact that I didn’t touch or see a single garment until the day of the fashion show; which turned out to be absolute chaos and was hosted in a sticky nightclub with probably less than ten attendees. It turned out to be a bit of a crazy ride, and I wasn’t the only one. Two other interns had been hired from my school as well. The three of us were caught in this crazy whirlwind of mixed up tasks, strange hours and bizarre run-ins. We hosted model castings in tattoo shops and spent more time running errands and rummaging through emails than anything else; all while trying to work on a social media strategy with no WiFi and all taking turns for the single, blue Ethernet cord in the dining room.

Needless to say, there were tons of rules being violated and ends of the deal that were not kept. We were in an extremely unprofessional environment, and after about a month of this, we spoke up. My school urged us to stop and I found myself on the phone with the Dean telling me I was not allowed to return to this designer’s home and to send in my resignation immediately; necessary, but disastrous right? I thought so too. Until the universe proved me wrong.

Now, I was left with no internship and a gap in my credits (this really did not sit well with me). The whole reason I did this was to get a head start and now I found myself on the borderline of a setback. Not a chance. The Dean told me they would help me find a new internship but their offers weren’t for me. Again, I was trying to aim outside the box here.

My mind wandered back to some of my favorite places around town. I wanted to find something exciting and still in the city. Something of interest. Since my first year at school, my favorite hobby was to wander around Downtown Providence and explore. Coffee shops, boutiques, galleries and especially the vintage shops. One, in particular, was my favorite.

Carmen & Ginger was a teeny little vintage goods store inside of the historical Providence Arcade. No, this was not the kind of arcade you’re thinking of. There was no pinball or Pac-Man. The Arcade was a historical landmark and one of the first shopping malls in the country that was now home to unique little shops and even had a couple floors of micro-lofts where people could live. It was a gorgeous building with a glass atrium and a historic feel like no other. I loved walking through there more than anywhere else in Providence. On countless occasions I would pop into Carmen & Ginger and rustle through every little item, buying nothing due to my “poor college student” budget. On a more than a few occasions I would even ask if they were hiring, needed help, etc. The answer was always the same. A “no”, which I totally understood based on their perfectly efficient way of running the store . I knew I probably couldn’t be of much help anyway. However, I was particularly drawn to this place. Every inch of the store was tastefully filled with vintage goodies and was color coordinated with the signature C&G colors: orange and teal. I just felt good being in there.

Anyway, back to the real story. In a state of desperation to find a replacement internship, I couldn’t help but think about Carmen & Ginger as an option. I wanted to work there so desperately. As I sat and thought a bit, I remembered that a Starbucks coworker of mine had helped out there with some intern duties a while back. I reached out to her immediately and sure enough, she kindly connected me with the owner. Christine, the shop owner, invited me in to chat.

“FINALLY!” I thought.

On that day, I remember waking up with such excitement, put on my favorite outfit and polished myself up to look my absolute best for this interview. I needed to land this spot. After tossing some quarters into a dysfunctional Providence meter. I made my way into the Arcade and sat at the shop counter with Christine as we talked for a bit (with just enough time left before the parking meter ran out). I was honest with her and told her about the bizarre situation I was coming out of. It felt more like talking to a new friend than having an interview. She ended the conversation with a warm welcome and invited me to begin helping out at the shop a few days a week for the remainder of the summer to fulfill my internship requirements. I was ECSTATIC as I ran back out to my car, praying I put enough quarters in to avoid a ticket. Everything was all good and we (my car and I) blasted the happiest music the whole ride home. I couldn’t wait to begin.

The next couple of months were great. In between tasks, we would talk endlessly about life, horoscopes, vintage and all of the similar interests we had. On the days Christine wasn’t there, her other shop worker, Val would come in fully equipped with the same enthusiasm and exciting conversation. They were the best part of coming into work each day. Christine would share stories about her days living in New York, adventuring around, running into celebrities like Andy Warhol. Her stories amazed me. She lived the life I had aspired to grow into someday. New York had always been on my radar, so hearing her talk about it made me light up inside.
As my internship came to a close, I left with a lot of things. Sure, I left with a handful of employee discounted purchases and some new items to add to my closet; but most importantly I left with a whole lot of inspiration and knowledge about the vintage world. It was great to meet people who shared the same passion and appreciation for things of another time and understood that each piece carried a story along with it. Although, I do believe one of the most important things I left with was an amazing vintage kimono Christine had given to me as a parting gift.

This piece was as vintage as it gets… the kimono was from way before our time. Questionably even an item of the 1930s. It was magical. Kimonos were my favorite trend at this time. I wore them all summer long over dresses and with different top and pant combos and would lounge around the house in them as if I was some sort of golden age film star. However, this was the most important one I was adding into my collection. I don’t know where it originally came from, who wore it, or what its story was. Maybe it was worn by a movie star, or backstage in the dressing room of a Broadway star… I will never know, but that makes it more exciting. The fragile silk was carefully taken care of all these years and is in great condition for an 80 somethingyearold article of clothing. It has a few holes, but its colors remained vibrant with gorgeous details and embroidered crescent moons. It has become one of my most prized possessions, all thanks to a bad situation that turned into a very special opportunity. This single piece is now tied to some of my fondest memories.

 

 

If you got to the bottom… thank you for reading! Please hit “follow” on the bottom right hand corner for updates! Keep scrolling to read my previous post about a very special leopard coat.

Standard

Closet Memoirs #1: Rubio and The Leopard Coat

People always said I should do this. Saying “You should really write a book about this someday.” or “You should really start writing this stuff down.” after every ridiculous story  exchange. I always smiled and nodded until one day… I actually did put pen to paper and start jotting down these random occurrences, encounters or moments of magic. Sometimes it’s crazy how easily we can forget the little bits of magic that surface from time to time, especially while living in a city like New York. Our geographic location alone just heightens and multiplies ALL bases for storytelling. Each time you step outside, you really never know what you’re in for. Exciting for most, stressful for some but the moments you experience here are unlike anything else.

Sometimes in the chaos of it all, I can’t help but think I am stuck inside of some hidden camera Rom-Com just waiting for everything to make the slightest bit of sense someday. But until then… the least we can do is take these moments and learn a thing or two from them. Reflect on them. Appreciate them. Grow from them as best as we can.

I recently had someone explain to me that they “appreciate” the fact that I see life this way. (Which was incredibly flattering.) That they really enjoy the view I have on the world and the chaos of New York. Seeing glitter in the grungy-ness and the humor in the insanity. I can’t help but laugh sometimes and can only hope that this perspective on the little things in life can allow you to read into the good things a little more and keep those thoughts and moments tucked away in a special part of your brain. It’s fun to look back on the “movie moments” that make up your story aka your LIFE.

Welcome to Closet Memoirs, the idea that has been dancing around in my mind for most of 2018. A collection of thoughts, experiences, photos and special tales of the stories behind the pieces we live our lives in.

To those who know me and have experienced this… a simple outfit compliment will usually turn into some elaborate 5-minute story about how the piece came to be mine. (Sorry and thank you to all who have been stuck in one of those conversations.) Anyway, the point being, these tangents only sparked due to the excitement I felt inside, so why not just take it and run with it? Fashion, clothing, thrifting, etc. is not necessarily something everyone thinks very far into. But if you know me, you know I think too far into just about everything. However, in this case… I guess it pays off!

This whole concept really sunk in on a cold day back in January. I was tiredly trudging back to my neighborhood after spending 6 hours in a car from back to back weekend work shoots. I decided to wander off my usual course for a breather and a stroll past my old apartment just 4 blocks north. Across from what used to be my old entryway stood a man and a rack full of clothes. This is not an unusual sight for New Yorkers, and I typically would walk by without thought.

I walked by mindlessly but then quickly shifted my little black boots into reverse as I saw a fuzzy leopard sleeve poking out from the rack. I had been on the hunt (no pun intended) for one of these for YEARS now. As I bee-lined for this coat, the man turned on his usual sales pitch. But the thing was… I didn’t need a pitch. I was already sold.

“How much?” I asked as he was somewhat humorously startled by my quick decision (a little eager, I know).

He laughed and told me “$25” which made me even MORE sold on the idea.

“I’ll take it.” Was the immediate response.

He proceeded with “Well, mi amour don’t you want to try it on?”

But I just knew it would fit. (Plus it was too cold to even swap jackets for a second). As we completed the exchange (which took all of 90 seconds) a conversation sprung up about the obvious: why I was here in this neighborhood, if I lived here, the usual. He introduced himself as Rubio and we shook hands. He had soft blue eyes and a warm sense of humor. (No this is not a love story, he was just a kind and approachable man.)

A conversation of coats quickly spun into one about the area and the gentrification of the Manhattan neighborhood I have called home for almost 2 years now. (Which is nothing compared to those who have spent their whole lives here.) It has been a hot topic here for quite some time and Rubio explained his perspective on all of it to me. By the end of this conversation, it wasn’t about the coat anymore. It wasn’t about the sale. It was an exchange of cultural upbringings, opinions, change and understanding. It was a peace offering between people of two different worlds who were now coexisting in New York City, appreciating each other in a rather uncommon moment.  Rubio explained to me that we are lucky to call this place home and really helped me view the situation with new understanding.

I walked away with a little more sparkle inside. Feeling good about the conversation, the momentary friend and of course… the brand new coat. Well, brand new to me anyway. This little leopard had been loved in another life before me. This label-less coat had a hole in the lining, a few missing buttons, a rip in the seam but it didn’t matter to me. Its flaws were a part of its story (same goes for humans btw). I knew that with a little TLC these things would not be a problem. This one of a kind vintage coat, worn by  God knows who… was now mine and its story was living on into another life and has already been the subject of several stories, photos, cold weather memories and most importantly; this first blog post. If you let them, these clothes can be a lot more than just something you put on your back. Dressing yourself is part of every single person’s daily routine. So why not make it a little more meaningful?

Thanks, Rubio.

 

*If you got through that novel and are still here (thank you)… WELCOME! This is just the beginning. Please, leave a comment, send me a note… let me know what you’d like to hear about next. Do you have a question, an idea,  topic, or piece you are curious to hear about? I’m all ears.*

Standard